This season due to the current pandemic has given us a weird playoff format for hockey. This year 24 teams made the playoffs. I will not complain as my team the Pittsburgh Penguins made the playoffs as a higher seed and that is a lot of hockey to watch. So far there has only been two days of playoff game and the action has been jammed packed.
Game 1: #11 New York Rangers vs. the #6 Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes won by a score of 3-2. The Hurricanes looked really good as they had a lot of heart and were the much faster and better team. Igor Shestyorkin was supposed to start for the Rangers but due to being “unfit” to play Henrik Lundqvist was the starter. Lundqvist did not even have a bad game either just the Hurricanes outplayed the Rangers. Mika Zibanejad and Marc Staal scored for the Rangers as Sebastian Aho, Jaccob Slavin, and Martin Necas scored for the Hurricanes.
Game #1: #12 Chicago Blackhawks vs. the #5 Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers scored quickly as Connor McDavid nets a Powerplay goal. However, the Chicago Blackhawks controlled the game after that scoring 4 goals in the first period. The Blackhawks won the game 6-4. They were the better team as rookie sensation Dominik Kubalik had five points. Kubalik had two goals as well as Jonathan Toews, and Brandon Saad also scored for the Blackhawks. For the Oilers, McDavid scored as well as Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and James Neal. If the Blackhawks can continue to score at well they will not only pull off the upset but can be a dark-horse team to make it to the Stanley Cup.
Game #1: #10 Florida Panthers vs. #7 New York Islanders
This game was one of the better defensive games of the weekend. The Panthers and Islanders are both very good teams defensively. The Islanders took a lead in the first period and won 2-1. The lone goal from the Panthers came from Jonathan Huberdeau in the third period. Anthony Beauvillier and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored for the Islanders.
Game #1: #12 Montreal Canadiens vs. the #5 Pittsburgh Penguins
As a Penguins fan, I was very excited for this game. The Penguins came out of the gate strong as they were the faster and better team. They got a lot of shots up but could not convert against the great Carey Price. The Montreal Canadiens were able to convert in the first period and score. In the second period the Canadiens took a 2-0 lead. However, the Penguins would not go down without a fight and tied it up. The game was physical, fast, and back-and-forth. The Canadiens were able to win the game in overtime. The Penguins played pretty well including Matt Murray. The Penguins lost this game due to missed chances including a penalty shot from Connor Sheary late in the third period, and poor front and back checking. Hopefully in Game 2 the Penguins can wake up. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Nick Suzuki, and Jeff Petry scored for the Canadiens while Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust scored for the Penguins.
Game #1: #9 Winnipeg Jets vs. #8 Calgary Flames
This game featured two good teams very close in record. The game started off physical as Matthew Tkachuk cleanly hit Jets captain Mark Scheifele against the boards and Scheifele turned his body and took an awkward fall and could not get up. Scheifele went straight to the locker room and did not return. If this is long-term the Jets are in trouble as they lost their captain and a huge part of their offense. The Jets took a lead in the first period until the Flames scored 3 goals in the second period. The Flames ended up winning 4-1. The lone goal for the Jets was scored by Andrew Copp. The Flames goals came from Andrew Mangiapane, Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, and Tobias Rieder.
Game #1: #11 Arizona Coyotes vs. #6 Nashville Predators
This game was very fun to watch. The Coyotes controlled the first period as they scored 3 goals to the Predators one. However, in the third period Nashville started to comeback as they scored two goals. However, the late comeback was too little too late as the Coyotes won 4-3. The goals from Arizona came from Christian Dvorak, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Michael Grabner, and Clayton Keller. The goals from Nashville came from Ryan Ellis and two from Filip Forsberg.
Game #1 Round Robin: #4 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #1 Boston Bruins
In the first Round Robin game of the playoffs we saw the Flyers take on the Bruins. Due to Tuuka Rask being “unfit” to start we saw Jaroslav Halak in between the pipes for Boston. The Bruins struggled mightily as they lost 4-1. The lone goal from the Bruins came from Chris Wagner. For the Flyers, Michael Raffl, Scott Laughton, Philippe Myers, and Nate Thompson all scored.
Game #1 Round Robin: #2 Colorado Avalanche vs. #1 St. Louis Blues
This game was also very good on the defensive end. The Blues were looking to defend their historic championship run last year and go back this year. David Perron scored in the first period to take the lead. The second period was scoreless however. In the third period Ryan Graves scored to tie the game. The Blues late in regulation commit a costly penalty where Nazem Kadri scored a game ending Powerplay goal with 0.1 seconds left as the Avalanche won 2-1.
Game #1: #9 Columbus Blue Jackets vs. #8 Toronto Maple Leafs
This game was back-and-forth as well. The Maple Leafs got a lot of good looks but could not convert. The first two periods nobody scored. Both goaltenders played very well. However, in the third period Cam Atkinson scored to put the Blue Jackets on top. Alexander Wennberg scored on an empty net to put the dagger. Joonas Korpisalo had a 28 save shutout.
Game #1: #10 Minnesota Wild vs. #7 Vancouver Canucks
The Minnesota Wild are playing a very good game. Kevin Fiala scored in the first period and Jared Spurgeon scored in the 2nd period. Jared Spurgeon scores again as he gets an empty net goal. The Wild win 3-0 thanks to a 28 save shutout by Alex Stalock.